Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (FCX) expects to sign a deal with the Indonesian government “imminently” to resolve a dispute that has curbed production at the world’s third-biggest copper mine.
The largest publicly traded copper producer and the government have developed a memorandum of understanding under which the company would commit to help develop a smelter, Phoenix-based Freeport said today in a statement. The agreement includes reduced export taxes and higher royalties for copper and gold.
The agreement, which would enable the immediate resumption of exports, also states that Freeport and Indonesia would start negotiations immediately on changes to the company’s contract to operate in the country.
Freeport reduced operating levels this year at its Grasberg copper and gold mine after Indonesia introduced restrictions and duties on mineral exports in a bid to increase local processing. Exports of concentrates, a semi-processed raw material, have yet to resume after months of negotiations between the company and government officials.
Freeport has been able to run Grasberg at about half of normal rates because it sends some concentrate to a domestic smelter it helped build in the 1990s. Read the rest of this entry »
TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – The Alaska State Legislature has unanimously passed Senate Bill 99 (SB 99), which includes provisions authorising the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA) to make up to $270-million available for infrastructure and construction costs at two south-east Alaska mining projects.
The passing of the Bill provides TSX-V-listed Prince of Wales Island project developers Ucore Rare Metals and Heatherdale Resources with the state-backed financial boost needed to develop the deposits into mines amid an otherwise tight financial market.
Introduced by Senator Lesil McGuire in 2013, SB 99 also aims to clarify ambiguous language associated with the Sustainable Energy Transmission and Supply Development Fund within the AIDEA. The AIDEA is a public corporation created by Alaska lawmakers to promote economic development across the state, and has been active in the financing of multiple capital project initiatives in the Alaska mining sector since 1985.
The Delong Mountain Transportation System, a road and port facility connecting the isolated Red Dog mine to world markets, and the Skagway Ore Terminal, a south-east Alaska facility that ships about 37-million pounds of copper concentrates from Capstone Mining’s Minto mine, in Canada’s Yukon Territory, are examples of mining-related projects the authority has funded. Read the rest of this entry »
The Globe and Mailis Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.
VANCOUVER — A devastating price slump is hammering British Columbia’s coal sector as a U.S.-based company halts mining in the province while other players face mounting pressure.
Walter Energy Inc. highlighted the troubles Tuesday when it announced its decision to stop B.C. mining until coal prices recover.
Last week Virginia-based James River Coal Co. filed for bankruptcy protection in the United States, underscoring tough times in the global industry.
The coal industry has traditionally been a key driver of B.C.’s economy, with companies generating billions of dollars in revenue every year and employing thousands of workers. Now producers are starting to question the viability of their projects as prices hit new lows.
In 2011, coal prices soared to $300 (U.S.) a tonne. Prices for metallurgical coal have since tumbled to roughly $120 a tonne, hurt by ample new supplies from Australia, slower-than-forecast economic growth in China and a shift away from long-term coal pricing contracts that had provided some stability. Read the rest of this entry »
Russ Hallbauer is president and CEO of Taseko Mines Ltd.
The final weeks of the First Nations community hearing sessions of the federal environmental assessment for New Prosperity Gold-Copper Mine witnessed emotional testimony from many Tsilhqot’in and Shuswap First Nations peoples.
The New Prosperity project is located in British Columbia’s Cariboo-Chilcotin region. It proposes to save the culturally sensitive Fish Lake, and it will have a significant positive socio-economic impact on the region, British Columbia and Canada.
The Tsilhqot’in people have a long history and traditional connection to the land throughout their traditional territory, including in the proposed mining area around Fish Lake.
These communities, many with strong family ties, are working to heal some pressing social issues by strengthening awareness of their heritage and traditional practices among their youth as well as more broadly in the general population. Read the rest of this entry »
The Globe and Mailis Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.
The breakup of Belarus Potash Co., one of two international potash cartels, is good news for consumers and farmers across the world, which carries a promise of less expensive fertilizer and (as a result) cheaper food. It is hard to see how BPC’s North American equivalent, Canpotex International Pte. Ltd., the marketing organization shared by Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc., Agrium Inc. and The Mosaic Co., will be able to maintain potash prices at their previous levels. The raison d’être of Canpotex is likely to be in question. Without the quasi-duopoly of Canpotex and BPC, the potash market will be substantially more competitive.
OAO Uralkali, the Russian member of BPC, has accused its former Belarussian partner, Belaruskali, of selling potash outside BPC. Indeed, last December, the dictatorial President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, issued a decree cancelling BPC’s exclusive right to market and export Belarussian potash; maybe Belaruskali was just being obedient.
But Uralkali may have another motive, too; it has the advantage of being able to ship potash directly by rail to China, a country with a great appetite for fertilizer. Uralkali appears to have decided to seek buyers by offering attractive prices, rather than by restricting supply. Read the rest of this entry »
One organization’s success teaching Aboriginal people mining skills isn’t without complications.
Unemployment for Aboriginal people in the province is twice as high as the rest of British Columbians. But Aboriginal people are defying the employment odds in the province’s mining industry, thanks in part to the BC Aboriginal Training Association (BCAMTA), which provides job training for the mining industry to Aboriginal people in B.C.
In a July 22 press conference in Vancouver, the association released a PricewaterhouseCoopers audit of their practices from their start in January 2010 until March 2013. Results show the organization has registered 1,533 training candidates, 500 of which have successfully achieved employment in their field.
BCAMTA’s work has paid off for the economy, too. CEO Laurie Sterritt says a $6.68-million federal government investment to start the program has translated into a $53.4-million annual contribution to B.C.’s GDP.
“This isn’t a one time boost to the economy: this is an amount that will grow as our employee candidates get salary increases, earn bonus payouts, and move up the ladder to more senior positions,” she said. Read the rest of this entry »
South Africa’s position as the number three supplier of iron-ore to China emphasises the strategic importance of iron-ore deposits in the country and its importance as a significant iron-ore contributor worldwide, says minerals adviser Venmyn Deloitte MD Andy Clay.
He adds that this is testimony to the rapid historical development of South Africa’s iron-ore mines, in conjunction with the South African government’s infrastructure development.
South Africa is the seventh-largest producer of iron-ore and has also traditionally been the fourth-largest exporter worldwide. The country increased the percentage of iron it exports because of the suspension of mine operations in Goa, India, in September 2012 , owing to contraventions in terms of mining without licences or beyond licensed areas.
As a result, the global demand that Goa’s iron-ore mining operations used to meet can now be met by South Africa, in addition to other producers, such as Australia. “One of the factors that enables South Africa to export so much ore is the efficient Sishen iron-ore rail line,” notes Clay.
Opened in 1947, the Sishen mine is iron-ore supplier Kumba’s flagship operation and one of the largest openpit mines in the world. It has sufficient resources to sustain 21 years of production. It operates 24/7 and, in 2011, it transported 38.9-million tons of iron-ore. Read the rest of this entry »
The three Quebec gold mines of Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. will probably escape the $250 million in spending cuts the company plans this year and next to offset sagging bullion and base metals income.
Agnico Eagle, which started producing gold north of Val d’Or in 1988 with the launch of its rich LaRonde mine, has since become an international company with operations in northwestern Canada, Finland and Mexico. It targets overall annual output of 1.2 million ounces within three years.
It had planned to invest $600 million U.S. a year on mine development, but with gold down to about $1,350 an ounce from a peak of almost $2,000 and co-products silver and zinc depressed, Agnico Eagle has cut that number to $400 million.
Most of the savings will come from delays in exploration and mine construction activity outside Quebec, CEO Sean Boyd told analysts Thursday. Year-end completion of a new cooling and ventilation system will boost output from LaRonde’s deep higher-grade reserves next year and the mine will produce 300,000 ounces a year for a long time yet. Read the rest of this entry »
Some Investors Say Stocks Have Fallen Too Far, and News Isn’t All Bad
LONDON—Mining stocks are among the worst performers this year, with those exposed to iron ore down sharply amid concerns about overcapacity and sluggish demand from China. But some investors believe the rout could be overdone, with share prices of miners falling much further than market prices for iron ore.
“Right now, we’re moving into the low and everyone’s twitchy; the market’s focused on the third quarter, when we’ll have shutdowns in the Chinese steel industry and a seasonal downwards [move],” said Clive Burstow, manager of Barings’ Global Mining Fund, which holds some $15 million in mining stocks.
Capacity to produce iron ore is set to boom in the next few years as expansion programs planned before the financial crisis start to come on stream. By 2018 there will be an extra 419 million tons of capacity, according to estimates compiled from producers’ data, around 40% above 2012′s seaborne traded levels of just over one billion tons.
About half of the new capacity is expected to come on stream by late 2015, including from new projects by Rio Tinto RIO.LN +0.17% PLC and BHP Billiton PLC in Australia, and from Vale SA VALE5.BR -0.31% in Brazil. Read the rest of this entry »
TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – Canada is expecting a boom in oil production from its prolific Alberta oil sands deposits; however, production from the world’s third-largest proven oil reserves, after Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, is hampered by a lack of sufficient transport to markets, resulting in lower prices for Canadian crude.
In much the same way as the transcontinental railroads of the 1880s acted as economic enablers and opened up the Canadian hinterlands of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta to settlement and agriculture, so new oil pipelines transporting crude to coastal refineries and markets, and refined petroleum products back inland, are expected to have an enormous economic impact on Canada, driving economic growth.
Canada is desperately seeking alternative oil transport networks to its inadequate rail infrastructure to boost an industry that last year accounted for C$100-billion in exports of oil and natural gas, Al Monaco, the country’s largest pipeline operator Enbridge’s president and CEO, said at a recent Bloomberg Canada Economic Summit, in Toronto.
“It’s a very exciting time to be in the pipeline business. It’s not too often that you get the supply fundamentals and the demand fundamentals lining up extremely well. So, at this point, you’ve got a producer push of volume that wants to get to market. You’ve also got a market pull,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »
The Northern Miner, first published in 1915, during the Cobalt Silver Rush, is considered Canada’s leading authority on the mining industry.
I visited Taseko Mines’ Gibraltar mine north of Williams Lake, B.C., in 2008. The company bought the shuttered operation in 1998 and restarted it in 2004. Four expansions later, Gibraltar now employs 700 people, churns out 90 million lb. copper annually and is a major regional economic driver. It’s been a great story for a part of the province that has struggled with mill closures and unemployment.
During that Gibraltar tour, talk kept veering towards the Prosperity project, 175 km south. I remember Taseko president and CEO Russell Hallbauer downplaying the challenges of permitting the new mine. He figured Taseko had earned respect from the locals through Gibraltar and that, combined with a dire need for new economic activity locally, would mean enough support to dial down any voices of discontent.
What Hallbauer could not have predicted was that Prosperity, which happens to sit on lands involved in Canada’s most significant aboriginal land claims court case, would become a rallying cry for almost every anti-mining voice in the province.
Prosperity is a copper-molybdenum porphyry that Taseko wants to open pit mine. There’s a lake beside the deposit — known as Fish Lake, or Teztan Biny — that is one of 13,000 lakes in the Caribou region in the 100- to 150-hectare size range. Read the rest of this entry »
Vale is putting on a big push to finish the nickel processing facility in Long Harbour, pledging more cash to workers if they meet revised targets. The company says the project is 90 per cent completed, but finishing the job has been a challenge.
The processing facility is behind schedule. It was supposed to be commissioned by the end of June. The new target is Oct. 31.
Vale spokesman Bob Carter says the project has been plagued by shortages of skilled workers and absenteeism. “Resources that were here, and scheduled to be here, are now moving on to other projects,” Carter said. Read the rest of this entry »
Mining giant Vale admits it may have to look outside the country to hire specialized workers to finish its massive nickel processing facility in Newfoundland’s Placentia Bay.
However, Vale says it wants to explore other options first to find such skilled workers as welders and pipefitters for its site at Long Harbour, where the company ultimately intends to process nickel mined at Voisey’s Bay in northern Labrador.
To accomplish that, the company is moving skilled workers from its port site to its main construction site, which the company calls the upper tier. “Because we are short some of those resources, we thought it was best to redirect those resources to the upper tier,” Bob Carter, Vale’s director of corporate affairs, told CBC News. Read the rest of this entry »
The Toronto Star has the largest circulation in Canada. The paper has an enormous impact on federal and Ontario politics as well as shaping public opinion.
With prices still weak, Canadian miners like Teck and Goldcorp are looking for ways to tighten the purse strings, or delaying projects altogether.
With commodity prices still weak, major Canadian mining companies are looking for ways to tighten their purse strings, and in some cases are delaying costly projects.
Teck Resources has pushed back production plans at a coal mine in British Columbia until demand for metallurgical coal recovers. It also announced a copper mine in Chile has been slowed by environmental permits so construction won’t begin until 2016 at the earliest.
“Teck is adapting to current market conditions,” president and chief executive Donald Lindsay told analysts during a conference call Thursday. “We are prudently deferring projects and capital expenditures.”
Patricia Mohr, vice-president and commodity market specialist at Scotiabank, said long-planned copper production is starting to come on stream, after years of no growth, so the move is affecting prices. Read the rest of this entry »
As the gold majors begin issuing their latest quarterly statements it is becoming apparent how shaky earnings are at current gold prices regardless of the massive writedowns being taken.
LONDON (MINEWEB) – Yesterday we saw World No. 4 gold miner Goldcorp writing $1.96 billion off its asset values during Q2 and World No. 2 Newmont $1.8 billion. This follows on notice of huge writedowns for the year of around $6 billion at Australia’s Newcrest, the World’s No. 6, and a statement from World No. 3, AngloGold Ashanti, that it would be writing its assets down by between $2.2 and 2.6 billion. The other gold majors yet to report will also likely be taking huge writedowns which will significantly impact June quarter financials.
But it’s not the writedowns which are necessarily the most significant factors to be taken into consideration by shareholders and the gold market itself. It is the actual decline in operating profits, and the all-in sustaining cost of production which should be a primary focus. Write-downs are just book adjustments on asset valuations, but the underlying financial health of the companies, and what they can afford to pay out in dividends, depends on ongoing profitability virtually regardless of the kinds of book financial adjustments that are being seen. Read the rest of this entry »